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Speed climbing

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Subject: Bouldering, List of climbing knots, Ammon McNeely, Sport Climbing Australia, Rock climbing
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Speed climbing

Speed climbing is climbing in which speed is the ultimate goal.[1] (Although it is not to be confused with competitive speed climbing on artificial walls which is one of the disciplines governed by the International Federation of Sport Climbing). Speed Climbing is done on rocks, walls and poles. In pure speed climbing, time is everything but it is also common to record speed ascents while observing a particular climbing style or ethic. For example, there are many speed records in which the climb was done according to free climbing ethics. In popular culture speed climbing may be best known for a viral video featuring Dan Osman climbing Lover's Leap via the Bear's Reach route (5.7, 400+ feet) in 4 min 25 sec.[2] This clip was originally featured in the movie Masters of Stone IV.


Pure speed climbing

Full speed climbing is done in such a way that maximizes speed and minimizes danger. When climbing with a partner the climbers will alternate between regular free climbing, simul climbing, aiding, and at times sections of roped soloing. Speed climbing can also be done by an individual in which they alternate between forms of rope soloing, aiding, and free soloing. Strictly speaking this type of speed climbing is not a style but a combination or perhaps a type of aid climbing. However the complexity of combining all the styles together leads to what can be recognized as a separate style with its own particular techniques used in no other style.

Style climbing

Records can be recorded while climbing in a particular style. Each of the methods ultimately handicap the rate of progress with the exception of free soloing.

Free soloing

The simplest way to increase the speed of climbing is to shed all safety precautions such as belaying and placing protection. This leads to free soloing as rapidly as possible. While strictly speaking this qualifies as full speed climbing or a type of style climbing it is different enough to be recognized as its own category of speed climbing.


Lumberjack World Championship 2009 Speed Climbing Competition.

Most speed climbing records lack the standards normally associated with objective records. Hans Florine has written "I will be the first to say that climbing is silly. To make rules about it is just piling ridiculous on top of silly."[3] There are no sanctioned speed climbing competitions on significant rock features. Nearly all climbing goals and records are self-designed, self-timed, and self-officiated; few are well documented, and many are disputed.

The collection that follows abides by these loose standards.[3]

Time formate either hrs:min or hrs:min:sec.


The Nose, El Capitan

Regular Northwest Route, Half Dome

Snake Dike, Half Dome

Joshua Tree National Park

Jackson Falls, Illinois

  • 10 climbs 100 feet tall 45 minutes free solo Dennis George
  • 600 feet car to summit with a steep approach of half mile Idyllwild, CA
  • 10,000 feet in 24 hours Joshua Tree, CA climb for breast cancer


Bastille Crack

Third Flatiron



Cat In The Hat

New York

The Gunks

  • 50 Routes 13:30 Peter Darmi solo 2004.
  • 46 Routes 13:30 Eric Weigeshoff and Peter Darmi 2004. 3400' of climbing and descent.
  • 51 Routes 13:30 Eric Weigeshoff and Peter Darmi 2006 3400' of climbing and descent.


Grand Traverse

See also


  1. ^ Mountaineering: The Freedom of the Hills, Swan Hill Press; 6th Revised edition (14 Oct 1997) ISBN 1-84037-001-7,978-1-84037-001-0
  2. ^ Dan Osman- Lover's Leap
  3. ^ a b Speed Climbing!: How to Climb Faster and Better 2nd edition, By Hans Florine, Bill Wright Published by Globe Pequot, 2004, ISBN 0-7627-3095-1, 978-0-7627-3095-7
  4. ^
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